More than 100 national service members address community needs in Florida following the category 4 hurricane.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, deployed AmeriCorps teams to Florida last week following Hurricane Ian. On Monday, Sept. 19, President Biden announced a major disaster declaration after catastrophic damages including storm surge, flash flooding, wind damage and tornado outbreaks across the Southwest Florida coast, central Florida and the Northeast coast. 

The AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team immediately responded to two Federal Emergency Management Agency assignment requests for disaster relief.. 

  • $1.1 million was assigned to deploy AmeriCorps teams in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto and Osceola counties to provide mucking, temporary roof repair and hazard tree removal. 
  • $94,000 was assigned to deploy AmeriCorps teams to support FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons.

AmeriCorps is coordinating with FEMA, the American Red Cross and Volunteer Florida, deploying alongside the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Coast Guard, Department of Transportation and other federal agencies to respond to Hurricane Ian. Nearly 200 AmeriCorps staff and members are currently assisting with response logistics, operations, mass care and survivor assistance. The AmeriCorps members will contribute approximately 18,000 collective service hours during their deployment. 

Additionally, nine AmeriCorps NCCC teams are serving through FEMA Corps gathering, organizing and distributing response recovery data to field teams while also assisting with preliminary damage assessments. Five more AmeriCorps NCCC teams are assisting with shelter operations with the American Red Cross, tarping roofs and muck and gut operations. An AmeriCorps team with SBP is assisting with damage assessments, distributing commodities and providing community recovery education resources. 

In addition, an AmeriCorps incident command team is scheduled to arrive this week to begin training, developing work plans and scheduling work orders received by Crisis Cleanup, a national nonprofit organization focused on collaborative disaster work order management, for 100 AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team personnel. As expertly trained crews, the AmeriCorps Disaster Response teams regularly serve in national disaster response efforts by supporting shelter operations, call centers, volunteer and donation management, muck and gut operations, blue-roof tarping and debris cleanup, among other services. These crews will lead the agency’s efforts in affected areas.

“Our members deployed in Florida and the volunteers they serve alongside, showcase that Americans unite during our most difficult times to rebuild and recover together,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “Their dedication demonstrates the power of national service and the strength and resilience of our nation when faced with tragedy. We will continue to assist Floridians for the long haul as we transition from disaster response to long-term recovery.”

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. AmeriCorps programs like NCCC are often involved in disaster recovery for many months to years after the initial disaster. Since 2017, AmeriCorps has had teams on the ground to help Florida communities rebuild after Hurricane Irma, and again in 2018 after Hurricane Michael. From forest fires and floods to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, AmeriCorps members have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994.

AmeriCorps urges anyone who wants to get involved to seek volunteer opportunities following the disaster. For those interested in national service opportunities in emergency management, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/Serve. To learn more about AmeriCorps disaster response, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/DisasterServices.